MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) – A video of a wanted man wrestling with police inside a Memphis hot wing restaurant is making the rounds on social media, but there is more to the story, according to court documents.
The video shows two police officers wrestling with a man inside Rayford’s All-N-1 Hot Wings on South Third, attempting to handcuff him Monday.
Watch the full video below. (Video has no sound)
The video had been viewed more than 70,000 times Tuesday, prompting responses from commenters criticizing the officers’ use of force to take the suspect down to the ground. The man filming the event can be heard telling officers that the customer had done nothing wrong.
“We are aware of this video and are looking into the circumstances surrounding this incident,” MPD said in an email response Tuesday.
Officers later identified the man as 22-year-old Erion Walker. Walker was arrested on two counts of aggravated assault and vandalism.
Owner Kevin Rayford was the one behind the camera. He said Walker was a customer, and the two were talking inside the restaurant when police arrived.
“I felt every blow,” Rayford said. “It’s like I felt every blow. You know and I was angry.”
At one point during the video, you can see an officer come at the camera. Rayford said he knocked the phone out of his hand.
“When I was filming, he approached me with his fist balled up, so I didn’t know whether to duck or just prepare for a lick,” Rayford said.
According to an arrest warrant filed Monday, officers responded to a call on June 16 at Knight Arnold and Inverness Parkway. When they arrived, Walker’s girlfriend said she got into an argument with him while driving.
Walker’s girlfriend said the argument began when Walker returned her vehicle to her with bullet holes in it. She said Walker became angry and stuck his hand in her mouth.
According to police, Walker’s girlfriend attempted to call her mother, but Walker threw her phone out of the window and said, “I’ll (expletive) this car up.” Court documents said Walker then purposely swerved the car into a curb, disabling the car before leaving the scene.
Walker’s girlfriend suffered a leg injury in the crash. The car’s tires were also broken off the axles, according to police.
Rayford, who works to be an inspiration to young men in the neighborhood said he and Walker talked for more than 20 minutes at the restaurant. So long Walker’s ride left. He used the business’ phone to make some calls.
“He said, ‘Man, I want to change my life. I’ve changed the way I’m thinking. So I’m moving differently,'” Rayford said.
That’s when two officers showed up asking Rayford about a burglary at the business from three months ago. Then asking about Walker, questioning how he paid for his meal.
“As he was leaving the building the officers kinda boxed him in and said, ‘hey, what’s your name? Where your ID at?'” Rayford said.
Walker started asking what he did.
“What did I do? I didn’t do anything I just ordered some food. And so he just kinda motioned, they was attempting to pat him down and he kinda flinched and that’s where it all escalated from,” Rayford said.
Rayford says he respects law enforcement but believes their approach in handling this situation was wrong.
“So I understand what they’re under every day but you got to be able to treat each situation accordingly you understand, so it just didn’t make any sense for them to be that excessive,” Rayford said. “The guy didn’t even have a belt on, his pants were falling down so he didn’t have any weapons.”
Walker has a $51,000 bond and is expected to appear in court on June 22.